You're dieting and exercising like a champ, but the pounds won't come off. It sounds odd, but your home may be a reason the scale isn't budging. If you spend a lot of time at home, take into consideration these ways it may be contributing to weight gain.
- Open floor plan: I love an open floor plan, but it does make it easier to lounge on the couch, see a commercial for sizzling pizza, and walk five feet to the refrigerator. Instead of visiting the kitchen all throughout the day, create an eating schedule for yourself to help avoid mindless eating. If it's impossible to avoid the kitchen, portion out a small snack for yourself rather than eating directly from the box or bag that it came in.
- Hidden exercise equipment: When a treadmill is being used as a clothesline or collecting dust in the basement, it's a sign that it hasn't been used in a while (I'm guilty of that — guess whose treadmill is pictured to the right?). Instead, make sure fitness equipment is easily accessible by setting up an area devoted to working out. Stock it with free weights, a yoga mat, and a TV with some exercise DVDs to inspire you to burn calories.
- Kitchen cabinets filled with easily accessible junk: If the easiest snack to grab is a bag of chips or just-baked chocolate chip cookies, it's more tempting to grab them when hunger strikes. Make healthy snacks more likely to happen by preparing nutritious bites ahead of time. Keep containers of diced melon, carrot sticks and hummus, ants on a log, and cheese and crackers in the fridge. Not only are these snacks healthy, but they're also in perfect portion sizes so you're less likely to overeat.
- Your plates are huge: Downsize to a smaller salad-sized plate — the less food you can pile on, the fewer calories you'll consume. Makes sense, right?
- There's a bathroom on each floor: It's pretty convenient to have quick access to a loo from wherever you are in the house, but that may also lead to lazy behavior. Burn extra calories by choosing the bathroom that's farthest away, preferably one that's on a different floor — taking the stairs will also tone your legs and tush. Remember every little bit helps, and if you visit the ladies' room six or more times in one day, walking up and down steps will burn almost 50 calories.
- Your coffee table is full of food porn: Magazines like Bon Appetit and Food & Wine inspire yummy meals for dinner, but constantly seeing photos of deliciously decadent food may cause some major food cravings. Help avoid the temptation and encourage movement by displaying an array of health and fitness mags.